In recent years, there has been a growing body of evidence suggesting that IL-8 and granulocyte-macrophage CSF (GM-CSF) play an important role in inflammatory processes. We show that after GM-CSF treatment, the exposure of human neutrophils to IL-8 results in the synthesis of leukotriene (LT)B4 and platelet-activating factor. In GM-CSF-treated cells, IL-8 induced a concentration-dependent synthesis of both lipid mediators, with a threshold at 10 to 30 nM, suggesting that IL-8 could stimulate phospholipase A2 activity, an enzyme essential for both syntheses. Accordingly, IL-8 induced a substantial release of 3H-arachidonic acid in GM-CSF-treated PMN. It was also found that IL-8 activates the neutrophil 5-lipoxygenase (5-LO), the other key enzyme in LT biosynthesis. IL-8 induced 5-LO activation in a time- and concentration-dependent manner, with a threshold at 1 nM, and prior treatment of neutrophils with GM-CSF enhanced this effect of IL-8 over the 1 to 300 nM range. Neutrophil-activating peptide-2 and the melanoma growth-stimulatory activity, two peptides that are closely related to IL-8, also had the ability to activate the 5-LO and stimulate LT synthesis, albeit less potently than IL-8. Finally, pertussis toxin and the 5-LO translocation inhibitor, MK-886, both blocked the IL-8-elicited 5-LO activation. Taken together, our results raise the possibility that the combined presence of IL-8 and of GM-CSF at inflammatory foci could result in the synthesis of platelet-activating factor and LTB4 by neutrophils, thereby contributing to the amplification of the inflammatory response.